When the leaves start to change to a kaleidoscope of brilliant hues, and gracefully float to the cool earth I begin cooking and freezing fabulous dinners or starters for dinners. I begin with a large batch of tomato sauce and freeze in small containers. So many meals can be made with tomato sauce or I just use the sauce alone over pasta.
Growing up in an Italian-American family my relatives had strong opinions on making tomato sauce and many different methods. My Aunts would spend hours debating and comparing different sauce styles. I prefer the slow-roasting recipe that was used by my grandmother and mother. Roasting Marina Sauce creates a flavorful that is not acidic or bitter.
I love San Manzano tomatoes, and I use certified tomatoes. San Manzano tomatoes, named after a region in Italy, are less acidic because of the soil in that region. There are many brands and I prefer Cento certified San Manzano tomatoes. Just a suggestion, you can use any brand that works for you.
The recipe calls for the whole garlic bulb and roasting releases the garlic flavor without being bitter. Don’t shy away from the large quantity of garlic.
I use this sauce over pasta and with any recipe that calls for Marina Sauce. And an added benefit is that the sauce freezes beautifully for future use.
Classic Roasted Marinara Sauce
¼ cup olive oil
1 head of garlic, cloves chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup dry white wine
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, Cento certified San Manzano
¼ cup torn basil leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large heavy ovenproof pot over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 4 minutes.
Add onion, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often until onion is translucent about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened, about 2 minutes.
Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands, and their juices; add basil and oregano and stir to combine. Swirl 1½ cups water into one tomato can, then the other, to rinse, and add to the pot. We don’t want to waist any delicious tomato juice: Season with salt.
Transfer pot to oven; roast sauce, stirring halfway through, until thick and tomatoes are browned on top and around edges of the pot, 2–2½ hours.
Let the sauce cool slightly. Pass through the large holes of a food mill or process in a food processor until mostly smooth. I like my sauce a little chunky. Taste and season with salt.